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Letter: Kneeling during anthem reflects desire for justice

Kneeling during anthem reflects desire for justice

All this talk of bending a knee has brought back fond memories of the eight years I spent as a child in Catholic grade schools during the 1940s. Under tutelage of the Franciscan nuns we were taught, in addition to many other things, how to conduct ourselves in God’s house.

In those days the huge altars with all their statuary stood proudly in the center of the sanctuary, facing the congregation, fenced in by an ornate railing. In that space a priest praised the Lord, whose presence was concentrated in the center of the altar in an ornate space called the tabernacle. This area of all Catholic churches is regarded as sacred territory and revered as such.

Over time tradition has it that when we enter the church and proceed to the pews we genuflect (kneel) before entering the pew. Also, whenever we pass in front of the altar we stop in front of the tabernacle and genuflect or bow. This tradition of genuflecting is a way of recognizing and honoring the symbolic presence of God.

In this regard, it is not so much different that we have been taught to honor and respect our American flag.

Standing at attention has been a time-honored practice when the flag is displayed while playing the national anthem. An exception to this practice already exists by flying the flag upside down during a period of strife.

I believe that by demonstrating our support for a justifiable cause, such as equality and justice for all Americans, it should be conducted in an honorable and respectful manner. Bending a knee meets that criteria. Kneeling is no less patriotic than standing for the flag. For you bullies, kneeling can demonstrate honor and respect as well as strength.

Maybe if we all bent a knee to demonstrate our desire to provide justice and equality for all, this wave of race and bigotry would subside.

Walt Ratajczak


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